A hard cheese made in Lancashire in the north of England. The name is often shortened to Lancs — partly this is to free up up room on the label, and partly it is to avoid complaints that the cheese may really have been made in Cumbria or North Yorkshire.
Lancashire is always a very light yellow colour and will have a slightly
salty tang. Beyond that, the flavour and style can vary considerably between
producers. To help the buyer, one of the following labels will usually be used to describe its taste:
- Tasty Lancashire
- Strong flavoured and matured for six months to a year. Usually slightly
crumbly, but still creamy.
- Crumbly Lancashire
- Mild to medium flavoured. Less creamy than other Lancashire
- Creamy Lancashire
- Mild and creamy, with little to no crumbling. This cheese is not matured
for more than a few months. Fans of stronger cheeses have been known to call this one Tasteless Lancs.
- Lancashire Bombs
- A fairly recent style, and limited to a few producers. It is very
strong, having been aged for two to three years — this cheese puts extra mature Cheddar to shame. The bomb name refers to its
black wax shell, which is shaped a little like a cartoon bomb.
Lancashire cheese will not be blue. If it is, it has gone off and should be thrown out.
The cheese is sometimes sold with various added flavourings. Lancashire being very
much a farmhouse cheese, these are usually things that can be grown locally.
Popular additions include red onion, herbs and garlic and apples;
chilli, being an import, is less popular amongst traditional producers but
does occasionally rear its ugly head.
Lancashire is often served on a platter alongside Wensleydale, Cheshire,
Cheddar (the one that comes from Cheddar in Somerset, not the mass-produced orange plastic that is found in some supermarkets), Double Gloucester, Lune Valley Cobble, Jacob's Cream Crackers
and grapes. Such a platter goes well with either a Sauternes (a sweet white
wine) or a dry white Pessac-Léognan; it is also sometimes served with port.
Lancashire can also used in cooking. The crumblier varieties can be served in
a salad; the tasty kinds make excellent toasted sandwiches
with tomatoes and (optionally) bacon or ham.
The local farmer's market, which is full of helpful people who are quite happy to talk at great length about their cheeses